Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said that those in power are trying to turn people against each other, which she says is “not our America.”
Harris, a first-term U.S. senator from California who recently announced her candidacy.
“We are here because the American Dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before,” she said. “And we are here at this moment in time because we must answer a fundamental question: Who are we? Who are we as Americans? So, let’s answer that question to the world and each other right here and right now. America, we are better than this.”
Harris also said that racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and transphobia are real in the U.S. “They are age-old forms of hate with new fuel. And we need to speak that truth so we can deal with it,” she said.
Harris cast herself as the kind of leader who can unify the country and would fight for the needs of all Americans.
“I’m running for president because I love my country. I’m running to be a president by the people. Of the people. For all the people,” she said and echoed the words she has used in courtrooms and has adopted as her campaign’s slogan: “My whole life, I’ve only had one client: The people.”
The daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, Harris entered the race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Campaign aides say she has drawn inspiration from Shirley Chisholm, who in 1972 became the first black woman to run for president from a major party.
If Harris were to win the White House, she would be the first African-American woman and first person of Asian descent to be president.
Her Black roots are deep. In addition to graduating from HBCU Howard University, she is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the Links, Incorporated.
Harris’ campaign is expected to highlight her career as a prosecutor as part of her rationale for seeking the presidency. Harris was the first black woman elected district attorney in California, as well as the first woman, first African-American and first Asian-American to hold that job. Some of her tenure as attorney general, particularly relating to criminal justice, has come under early scrutiny.
Harris is among the first major Democrats to jump into what is expected to be a crowded 2020 presidential contest.
Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have announced exploratory committees. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Julian Castro, federal housing chief under President Barack Obama are already in the race. Political rumors also have circulated names including Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bernie Sanders of Vermont may also run.